High School Musical
Directed by Kenny Ortega (2006)
jusco’s Rating: ★★★1/2
Confession: I like High School Musical a lot; not just the first but all three. Does it have cheesy dialogue and unrealistic romantic storylines? Yes. But what it does have are catchy songs, which greatly appealed to the singer in me. Yes, I sang the songs daily with a friend when the first film was released, and to a hopeless romantic in high school, the possibility of finding the perfect match (Vanessa Hudgens at that! Now, that was love at first sight) was exciting and appealing; too good to be true, but exciting and appealing nevertheless.
Zac Efron plays Troy, the jock and most popular kid in school, who is forced to sing a karaoke duet during his Christmas vacation with a shy bookworm called Gabriella, played by the beautiful Hudgens – something strikes. They later find out they’re in the same high school class and are obviously attracted to each other, bonded by music and singing. The problem? It goes against the ‘status quo’: Troy should never venture out of the basketball court and Gabriella needs to stay put in the science lab. A perfect criticising mockery of the hierarchies found in high schools where popular doesn’t mix with unpopular. Can they overcome peer pressure and chase after what they love doing? Go ahead, I’ll give you one guess, should be plenty.
It’s a fun film with fun songs. Who doesn’t know the songs ‘Start of Something New‘ or ‘Breaking Free‘? Note: It’s Drew Seeley who sings Troy’s parts, not Zac Efron – they overdubbed Efron’s vocals since his voice wasn’t good enough, all done without his knowledge. Poor guy, but Efron, who does have a good voice (as heard in Hairspary) does sing in 2 and 3. The choreography also gets a mention. It is directed by Kenny Ortega, the man behind the Michael Jackson concerts that never happened, so there has to be some sort of standard. A batch of fresh young talent, it’s a DCOM that surprisingly works well.